Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Biological Weaponry

Our recent house guest Munny is a bright young woman who was looking for a living situation with other people. She claims to need a social atmosphere. I'm just the opposite. I want to live alone with at most one other person who also wants to live alone. I used to think this was because I was so good at amusing myself, and maybe that's what it was at first. Now I've got different reasons. And it all comes down to estrogen.

Estrogen does a remarkable variety of things, some  of it related to the continuation of the species, and some of it out of pure obstrepery. It sets about to provision you, as a girl, with everything it thinks you need to become an adult woman, according to the evolution handbook, whether or not this is the manual you want to use. It is responsible for an increase in body fat, hair, uterine growth, and laundry. And it throws in some features you might not have anticipated.

What sticks out in most people's minds are the breasts. Everyone is always real impressed with the breasts,  including their owners, who don't realize that they will eventually turn into one more thing you have to hoist up and clean under. "Thanks for the rack," I told Estrogen, initially, and quickly learned to use it to attract people with nearly no effort at all. Once a suitable person was attracted--let's call him the "target"--estrogen then threw in extra effects such as unpredictable weeping fits and bolts of rage, ensuring the target will be so off-balance he won't know whether to bark or roll over, and will do anything for you to get you back on an even keel. Estrogen arranged for all that, too. But after a certain point in your life, estrogen finally goes away. It does this when it senses a woman is old enough to be able to attract all the help she needs with money.

There is a form of it that hangs around a little, called "estrone," but it doesn't get into as much mischief. Estrone is pretty specialized. All it really does is change the woman's brain chemistry so that she doesn't get all bent out of shape if she pees a little when she sneezes.

In fact the female brain goes through many changes after menopause, affecting the very thought process. The younger, estrogen-saturated female brain excels at taking different facts, experiences, and memories and building the connections among them such that coherent thought is possible. The post-menopausal brain, on the other hand, excels at what the researchers delicately refer to (because they are not sure whether to bark or roll over) as "global" thinking. The operative root here is "glob." The brain now has transitioned from a nimble, sparking deduction machine to an amorphous vessel of goo that is liable to resolve any problem with "or, I could make a sandwich."

In the well-adapted post-estrogen brain, the pathways to humiliation are subtly erased, allowing the aging woman to relinquish fashion, start three different sentences without finishing any of them, and smell a little like pee without suffering from mortification.

And if she lives alone, there are fewer witnesses.

78 comments:

  1. "I want to live alone with at most one other person who also wants to live alone". Me, too, exactly.

    Very educational. Can you do a post like this on testosterone?

    What is 50 feet long and smells of urine? A line dance at an old folks home.

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    1. OH so much to look forward to as I approach the menopause years.....

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  2. so much to look forward to over the next couple months/years/whothehellknows... i took on a temp room mate. young man who needed a room for a couple weeks so he could stay in school until his permanent room was available. nice kid. didn't drink my booze or make a mess of the kitchen. i was still cranky because i couldn't walk to the kitchen at 3 am in my undercrackers... alone=good.

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    1. I've always thought the refrigerator light was flattering.

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  3. No truer words were ever spoken..when I was going through mentalpause everyone would say "What is wrong with her"? I would not so politely say "NOTHING...just leave me alone ..let me lie on the couch and read my book"!

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    1. And THAT's the problem--you're surrounded by irritating people.

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  4. Giggle, snort. My usual response to your posts.

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  5. The estrogen fairy is especially cruel when she starts taking it away from the mother and piling it on the daughter. Those were some interesting days in the intellihome...

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  6. Oh, how I love you.

    "Just another thing to pick up and clean under." What an amusing little head you have. :-)

    Pearl

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    1. Dave has said the very same thing about my head. I tell him it may be little, but it's dense.

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  7. Post menopausal here and looking for that place to live with NO other person who also wants to live alone.. What a life to look forward to, pickin' 'em up to clean under and checking for that tell tale pee smell.

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    1. Good news! Your sense of smell goes away, too.

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  8. You forgot to mention that when estrogen leaves it also gives us post-menopausal women a moustache. Not a great one, just enough of one to make any self respecting woman grumpy. Another smile inducing post, Murr. You always make my day. :-)

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    1. I've discovered I can tweeze out my chin hairs using the Photobooth feature on my Mac.

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  9. Yes, the timing of mother going through the change just as daughter is ripening up is a cruel thing, but it does make it easier to get the kid out of the house. Johnny wants to elope with her? Great! Goombye ya little bitch!

    Post menopause is the most comfortable time of my life. My husband says, "You're going to wind up lying on the couch, eating bonbons and watching soap operas." and I say, "You say that like it's a bad thing." He says, "There's cat shit on the floor!" and I say, "Yeah, I'm letting it firm up a bit. You can clean it if it's bothering you."

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  10. Trying to think of a pithy comment but my brain is goo. A sign, perhaps?

    Me and estrogen are currently fighting the Battle of Little Big Overreaction, gearing up for Buster's Last Stand. Glad I can come here and learn. Not looking forward to smelling like pee though.

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    1. But you can still look forward to offending other people with it.

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  11. I live alone in the front yard of my spouse. We do lots of things together just in separate dwellings.

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    1. An excellent plan. The house I live in was built in 1906. For years the parents lived in it and the kids were in a tent in the yard before they added on.

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  12. Up to now, I'd always been kinda sorry estrogen didn't deliver me more in the "rack" department, but after reading your "lift up and clean under" comment, I'm not feeling too hard-done-by after all. :-)

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    1. Sometimes you can get by with just a little flossing.

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    2. ...a little flossing? Dern, don't I wish! And even tried to warn the youngest that she didn't want to encourage hers to match gramma's DD hooters, but Noooo-

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    3. I can't even get mine to match each other.

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  13. Speaking of lift and clean under...Erma Bombeck said she read you shouldn't go braless if you could hold a pencil under your breasts. Left her out as she figured she could hold a typewriter.

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    1. I have a post in the can about the pencil test right now! Stay tuned.

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  14. HAHAaaaaaa... sigh

    I'll be 69 next month and well, estrogen left me years ago... don't care. In fact I don't care about much any longer except reverting to my 20s and becoming worthless all over again....

    I've decided I like being worthless... self indulgent and alone.

    And Blog Fodder! HAhaaaa... love Erma Bombeck... typewriter.... hahaaaa

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  15. Well of course it begs the question, if you want to live alone why the hell have you got a house guest? But forget all that, let's get back to something really important... breasts. It reminded me of that great scene in Mad, Mad, World where Terry Thomas talks about America's obsession with bosoms and how should we quit using brassieres the entire economy would collapse. Shortly after that film came out women started going braless and damn, look what happened, ten gazzillion in debt.
    Uh, I forgot where I was going with this. Never mind.

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    1. Well, something collapses, that's for sure.

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  16. I think my wife shaves more than I do. Don't tell her I said that.

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  17. Murr, I started to formulate a response, several times, but then I had to sneeze, and then after I did, all thoughts that had begun percolating smashed into one another, creating a sort of genesis affect across the planet that is my brain, and then I decided I'd rather just go eat a sandwich. But next time, I'll say a word or two.

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    1. Plus, you had to do the laundry after you sneezed, right?

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  18. This was delightful, though it reminds me of conversations with my wife of 'a certain age' who is also (to me) charmingly endowed in the pectoral area. She remains less charmed with each passing year, and I sort of understand since I don't have to cart them around
    Lanky drink-of-water your pretty houseguest, isn't she?

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    1. Munny? She's what my husband calls "regular-sized."

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  19. Gee, I always thought that older women wore too much perfume because they were losing their sense of smell! From your delightful posting, I now understand the truth -- that they are trying to cover up that little pee smell from laughing.

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  20. ...and speaking of peeing, have you ever talked to guys about what happens to the peeing mechanism over the years? There are millions of guys walking around with prostates the size of a football, living in their own private hell. Takes forever to get started (looks suspicious in public) and then takes forever to finish all that miserably weak dribbling. At least this is what I have been told, since I've decided to be 27 years old forever.

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    1. Football. I blacked out there for a minute.

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  21. I am starting to always smell a bit like sweat as nights are never cool anymore. Even with a fan right on top of me.

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    1. I'd like to have some fans right on top of me.

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  22. I failed the pencil test with breasts a loooong time ago. Now I sadly fear (and am so not checking) that my buttocks could also do with a bra. And I would really, really like some of my mind back. Even just my memory.
    Another great post. Thank you.

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    1. Interestingly enough, I just saw an ad for a butt bra. Probably everyone has seen that already, and I'm just bringing up the rear.

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  23. Ah. While I am looking forward to the end of random meltdowns, I am not looking forward to having to lift and dust under. I pass the pencil test, but still won't go without a bra...

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  24. Charming and witty, as always. Gravity's ravages and slight urine smell will never stop your readers from enjoying your blog.

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  25. And that is because I am here, and you are there.

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  26. Remember the fad for hanging upside-down, back in the 60s, I think? It was supposed to prevent sagging boobs. I should have done that. I wonder if it's too late now that mine blend into my spare tire.

    (Googling them, I find that they're still for sale, but now only for pedestrian uses, such as stretching bad backs. I liked the anti-sag ads better.)

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  27. I love crone-hood. Do you think it was estrogen that prevented me from wearing goofy hats, saying outrageous things, and standing in the middle of aisles to gab? I'm thinking about getting one of those organic food stickers that say...Hormone Free.

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    1. Good idea, but I can't figure out where to "install" it...

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  28. I will be 65 in the spring and I have lived alone for 14 years now and the very thought of living with another person gives me the screaming willies. When people ask me if I get lonely or bored, I say "No. I have a library of over 600 books, a Netflix subscription, and a computer to keep me interested and entertained."

    It works for me. And yeah, sometimes I feel the need for companionship so I

    a) have my neighbor's dog come over for dog cookies. He's never critical or boring and always makes me smile.

    b) head down to the pub for a beer so I remember why I don't date anymore and haven't remarried.

    c) go to a neighborhood association meeting and stay until the discussion/dissent over picayune b.s. starts to raise my blood pressure.

    Any one of the above keeps me happily alone.

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    1. I figure I'll need help some day so I'm ingratiating myself with a bunch of young people in case I can't afford a cabana boy.

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    2. I have that covered! My neighbor's son comes over and helps when needed and when bored, likes to play board games!

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  29. The good news is that when you are 84 you will find none of it matters and bras become a totally avoidable pestilence.

    Murr, I love the way your mind works. Incidentally, the mind does not run on estrogen.......and that's a good thing.

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    1. Mine runs away with itself. Many a blog post has been born that way.

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  30. OMG...you've done it again and I've had to change my pants.

    I heard an old guy in a bar say once "Look at those hooters. If one of her bra straps breaks, she'll wipe out the whole bar...."

    I am reminded of an old Don McLean song that has a line..."And the menopause....with hungry claws....ensnaaaaaaares youuuuuu....." Because really, that's what it's like. I've been in the menopause saga for about 25 years now, thanks to my local slice and dice doc. It blows.

    But, like the Honey Badger....I don't give a shit. (And that's the beauty of it)

    TTFN.

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    1. Yes, munchkin--25 years. Ans I asked a doc one time--when the f** will this stop??? He just changed the subject...

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  31. Pre menopause I had hard, dense lumpy breasts. Now they are like sacks of tepid "butta". Great for mammos though. And I pee when I sneeze. My hair has begun to thin and not just on my head. My mustache is managable. I lurve being alone and aside from the crepy skin I love menopause!

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    1. Me too. Mostly my hair has disappeared, as you say, everywhere, although some has just relocated.

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  32. What a fun post. My estrogen headed for the hills quite a while ago, but the only thing I really miss is the smooth face. It is now covered in adolescent boy-like peach fuzz. Oh well. Could be worse. At least, it's blonde. As for going braless? I read somewhere it's a good way for us old gals to pull some of the wrinkles out of our faces.

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  33. I'm going to tie mine up top with a barrette and no one will see my face.

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  34. I'm sitting in a hotel room in Guayquil, Ecuador waiting for a flight to Quito. Laughing myself silly at your blog. Thank you!

    What's with the hair migration? I thought I was the only one.

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  35. Oh I loved this post to say nothing of the great comments! Since I retired early a couple of years ago I find more and more I just don't bother wearing a bra at all as long as I'm wearing a jacket or something over me...who cares? There already isn't any space between the girls and my waist, since my stomach comes up so far... I just wear one if I'm going out with people I know! The grocery store, not so much!

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    1. I figure if the belly gets well enough developed, the girls will be pointing forward again.

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  36. My doc lectured me about Kegal exercises to tone up down there. I been doing them for months now but I still pee on myself if I laugh real hard I just now found out :)

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  37. How on earth have I not been reading your blog? I just came over from Lo's place and read some of your recent posts, snorting and laughing with each one. You are a very funny writer and I'm a new follower.

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  38. This explains a lot of unknows to me in my spousal relationship. More recently after surgery at the Mayo in Rochester, she as avoided the necessity of chemo and radiation. However, she is not on some sort of anti-estrogen pill. For lots of reason things are looking up... :)

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    1. I think if you just stick with "yes ma'am" and "right away ma'am" you'll do just fine.

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  39. LOL!!!

    now I've got to go pee... you've made me laugh dangerously hard! :p

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